Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fritzl's German Restaurant Lake Zurich

For those of you who are following this blog you already know that I love authentic German food. Finding a restaurant that specializes in the authentic German cuisine that I grew up eating is not as easy as it sounds.
Our Homemade Sauerbraten, Spaetzle, and Red Cabbage
Take Sauerbraten for example. There are as many variations of Sauerbraten recipes as there are variations in dialect from one part of Germany to the next. Throw in the areas surrounding Germany and the recipe changes are hard to follow. Sometimes recipes even vary within the same family. So when I go searching for German food, I'm really looking for the taste that I grew up on. Not easy to do. My benchmark is my Southern German grandmother's cooking and my American, German, and Irish mother.
I will stick with the Sauerbraten example since this taste really seeams to change often. I grew up on a gravy that used ginger snaps for the flavor. In most restaurants that I have visited, cinnamon seems to be a predominant flavor a flavor I'm not fond of in, or on my Sauerbraten. Rouladen on the other hand seems closer in comparison from restaurant to restaurant. The difference is using dill pickles or not in the Rouladen.We never had pickles in ours.
I searched the Internet for German restaurants in Lake County Illinois and found a restaurant about 40 minutes from my house I did not recall the name and called my sister who told me that my parents went there often and raved about it. The restaurant is called "Fritzl's Country Inn," located at 377 N. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich, Illinois
Schnitzel Trio 
I called my cousins to join us and two of the four agreed. I called ahead to make reservations, not knowing how busy they would be. The person taking our reservation was extremely polite and attentive to my needs. It was set and all things were aligned in the universe. I was eating German tonight. 
Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Rouladen, Bratwurst-Thuringer Combination
The weather wasn't the greatest and we should have stayed home because it wasn't "a fit night out for man, nor beast" (WC Fields). We passed one car being towed out of a ditch. 
We arrived safely and parked in the ample sized parking lot. My first impression was that I was at a Wisconsin style supper club. When we entered we were promptly greeted by the hostess who apparently knew who we were and directed us to lounge area, telling us that they could seat us whenever we were ready. My cousins were waiting at the bar with drinks in hand. The lounge was warm and inviting and we could have stayed there.      
Apple Strudel à la mode
We were promptly shown to a table and given our menus, a basket of rolls and a plate of whipped butter packets. The waitress was very friendly and took our cocktail order. I couldn't believe that under the appetizers they had Steak Tartar in 6 and 4 ounce portions. If this was the 80's, I would have ordered this in a heartbeat. Today it is considered dangerous to eat raw meat, especially with raw eggs. I'm sure it is great but decided against it today.
Black Forest Cake
When she returned with our drinks we weren't ready to order but did have some questions. The "Combination Platter" consisted of Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Rouladen and a Bratwurst Thuringer medley. "Perfect!" I thought. A chance to sample a little bit of everything. "What did it come with?" I wondered. Our waitress explained that it came with the vegetable of the day which was Broccoli with a Cheese sauce, Rouladen with Spaetzle, and the Sauerbraten with red cabbage. The Bratwurst and Thuringer sausages were served with sauerkraut, and the Chicken Schnitzel was served with German fried potatoes. There was no sauce served with or on the Chicken Schnitzel and apparently no seasoning. Since there were no potato pancakes with it I had to ask for an appetizer-sized order of Potato Pancakes. If you've never had German food before a combination plate is a great way to try a little taste of everything. Did I like it? Yes I did. I'm still looking for my ginger snap gravy.
The Schnitzel Trio
The Schnitzel Trio was 1 Jager (pork) schnitzel with wild mushroom sauce, 1 Fritzl (Pork) with lemon caper cream sauce and 1 Paprika-Rahm schnitzel with paprika cream sauce. The Trio came with a choice of 2 sides. We ordered the potato pancakes and red cabbage.
For dessert we ordered apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and black forest cake and some coffee. Judging from the crowd and the number of years in business at this location, Fritzl's is a place you should try out. Support entrepreneurial spirit and your local restaurant.   
© TMelle 2013

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